Several major contracts coming to blow molder Plastipak Holdings Inc. have led the company to step up expansion plans at its Texas facility and build an operation three times its current size, according to a local official involved in the project.
Plastipak, based in Plymouth, Mich., originally had planned to double the size of its 150,000-square-foot site in Garland, Texas, said Paul Mayer, president of the Garland Chamber of Commerce.
But an unanticipated contract to mold Gatorade sports-drink bottles led the company to boost the expansion and add a total of 300,000 square feet to the site, Mayer said. The expansion is to be complete in the first quarter of 2004, and company officials had set preliminary costs at $35 million, Mayer said.
``It's going to be incredibly automated,'' he said. `` We're not anticipating a big hiring push. One person can run an entire machine.''
Plastipak first opened the Texas plant eight years ago to mold high density polyethylene bottles for Kraft Foods Inc., which has a nearby, 670,000-square-foot plant in the Dallas suburb, Mayer said. The Kraft plant makes salad dressings and barbecue sauces, and Plastipak produces bottles, he said.
The 150,000-square-foot expansion was to start in 2002, Mayer said. The growth primarily was due to a new contract with Deja Blue bottled water, a regional brand made by Dr Pepper/Seven Up. Inc. of Plano, Texas, he said.
When a new Gatorade contract was signed after that, Plastipak upped the ante by adding an extra 150,000 square feet, he added. Plastipak officials did not return a telephone call seeking comment on the project.
The company has about 160 employees in Garland and plans to add about 60 more, according to a report in the Dallas Business Journal. The number of blow molding machines being added with the expansion was not available.
Plastipak recorded sales of $664.2 million for the first nine months of 2003, an increase of nearly 11 percent from the same period in 2002, according to its quarterly report. The company's carbonated and noncarbonated beverage sector was one of its fastest-growing areas, with sales up more than 10 percent for the same period.